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IoT Innovation Lights the Way in Nurse Call Solutions & Healthcare Communications

By Arti Loftus
February 01, 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it has caused us to rethink how we operate on a daily basis, both individually and within industry. No sector has been left untouched, and through 2020, the healthcare industry has been amongst those most impacted. As difficult as the health crisis has been for providers and frontline workers, it has also influenced the expeditious adoption of transformative digital strategies and solutions.

From considerable strides in technology, innovators in healthcare have learned to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), big data and analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT), to name a few. However, these are trends that were already underway before the pandemic began; it has helped to accelerate development and unlock unique opportunities drawing lessons from the COVID-19 crisis to solve many of the challenges that we still face this winter and that society, and the healthcare sector will face in the future acute healthcare crisis.  

Over the last year, nurses have experienced extremely high levels of stress, and institutions are looking towards technical solutions to adopt, including assisted nurse call systems, to deliver faster, safer, and more efficient care than ever before.

One such company embracing this opportunity with open arms is Belgium-based Televic Healthcare, one of four main businesses of the Televic group, a company with expertise in healthcare communication, active and knowledgeable in this area for over 70 years. Patient safety, comfort, and satisfaction have always been part of the company's mission to provide patient-centered innovations that benefit patients as consumers while also improving provider efficiency.

Traditional nurse call systems (NCSs) for hospitals and residential care facilities have been in place for several decades and were initially developed to eliminate communication challenges and improve nurses' workflow. But as needs change and new challenges arise, these old systems are hitting limitations. Innovation has led to many changes, including workflow automation, sensors, smart beds, and real-time communications, to name a few. However, there are many obstacles that stand in the way of the implementation of new healthcare platforms, including:   

  • Regulations, which are essential for safety but are frequently an obstacle for the fast introduction of new innovative technologies and can slow down innovation. 
  • Sales opportunities, which are limited mostly to new hospital construction and renovations.
  • Upgrades or replacements of a nurse call system: unlike many medical device systems, hospitals rarely replace their 10 or 15-year-old nurse call system house-wide; replacements are typically done on a per-unit basis.  

"Nurse call used to be the only system around a patient bed," said John Gesquiere, Director R&D and product management Televic Healthcare. "Today, it is part of a larger ecosystem; seamless integration is key for effectively attacking the challenges at the point of care and maximizing the efficiency. This long-term investment must be capable of adapting to emerging needs over time. With the right productivity platforms, caregivers are able to operate more effectively; institutions can reduce costs, increase patient throughput and improve their financial results while improving quality of care and patient satisfaction."

Most products or systems function as an independent silo, each solving a part of the bigger problem. So, a layer on top is needed to enable a cohesive approach. Televic's AQURA Care Communication Platform provides a unified platform with different modules binging together care communication for nurse call, person localization (RTLS), patient and staff safety, alarm distribution, person movement, and wandering management. The platform has an open approach towards integrating its own modules as well as 3rd party modules, even existing hospital infrastructure.

The AQURA platform by Televic Healthcare incorporates innovative technologies to encompass a very effective communication system dedicated to the healthcare sector. The platform features communication technology capable of effectively handling nurse calls for nursing homes and hospitals, utilizing both wired and wireless systems, accurate person location tracking through a unique RTLS technology re-assuring a person can be located within a room. Televic calls this "Care Communication."

Information is intelligently distributed via interactive notifications to the right person at the right time. This can be done to different devices and media, such as smartphones, signage displays, nurse stations, API interfaces, email, etc.

The goal is twofold, on the one hand, it is to inform only the right persons; this avoids alarm fatigue; on the other hand, it is to empower the caregiver to make informed decisions. Therefore, the alarms are enriched with context data such as additional alarm information, real-time location, camera images, etc.

The system offers an answer to the rapidly evolving requirements for patient and staff safety, operational efficiency, and open integration of the healthcare market. What makes it truly unique is the synergy between these domains, the accurate localization technology, the fact that it is software-based and feature upgradable, modular, and the open approach that breaks down the silos between different systems and products.

The system has been successfully rolled out over the past three years.

Though 2020 was certainly unexpected, Televic continues to be committed to making an impact in people's lives when they need it the most.

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Special Correspondent

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